Recently, Marsha and I started watching ‘The X-files’ again, from the beginning. This was a TV show that lasted for nine seasons beginning in 1993. Characters Fox Mulder and Dana Scully were FBI agents who investigated mysterious cases involving the paranormal. David Duchovny’s character ‘Fox Mulder’ was usually misunderstood by his peers for his belief in psychic powers and extra-terrestrial beings. His partner Dana Scully was a doctor who based her beliefs on the scientific method and rationalism.
Agent Mulder was epitomized by the phrase, ‘I want to believe’. The TV show was a good example of the transition in society from modernism to post-modernism. Modernists base their beliefs on rationalism. The post-modernist believes that rationalism cannot explain everything and a greater reality may exist outside the margin of our senses and accumulated knowledge.
A modernist like Dana Scully would look at the resurrection of Jesus Christ skeptically and demand a scientific explanation. Every claim must be substantiated and evidence must be accumulated. Even though every episode presented Dr. Scully with demanding proofs that the truth was out there, she always returned to her rationalism. She could not explain it from the truth she had learned, so she stopped short of believing.
When Jesus rose from the dead, there were those like Thomas who doubted the claims. Perhaps Thomas wanted to believe, but he needed some proof. Soon enough, Jesus visited him and he became a believer in Christ’s resurrection.
I have met people who want to believe in the resurrection of Jesus and others who do not want to believe.
N.T. Wright makes the assertion that rationalists have another option when a new reality emerges that cannot be explained by former thinking on the matter.
“Insofar as I understand scientific method, when something turns up that doesn’t fit the paradigm you’re working with, one option at least, perhaps when all others have failed, is to change the paradigm—not to exclude everything you’ve known to that point but to include it within a larger whole.”[i]
While most paranormal activity and discussion about extra-terrestrials has been exposed as fraudulent fakery, the resurrection of Jesus Christ meets the expectations of historical validation. It really happened and a body of evidence exists to substantiate what Christians have claimed to be true for two millennia. Over five hundred eyewitnesses attested to having been in the company of a very physical and living Jesus after he had been put to a torturous death on a cross. The New Testament gospels meet the criteria of ancient historical documents. Other documents from non-Christian sources also attest to the testimony of these witnesses.
Each of the four gospels provide pieces of information that when combined give us a fuller explanation of the events surrounding the resurrection of Jesus. As believers we are not just looking to prove the reality, but to ask about the bigger picture. Resurrection is not an isolated event without connection to a larger purpose. The resurrection tells us how all of history changed in a moment and opened a new kind of world for us to live in—a world where the end is not the end. The experience of death opens the door to a new beginning of life.